The Padres have come to terms on a deal with first-round pick Jackson Merrill, reports Jim Callis of MLB.com (Twitter link). He’ll receive a $1.8MM signing bonus that checks in well shy of the $2.5701MM slot value associated with the #27 overall selection.
Of course, Merrill’s willingness to sign for less than slot value played a role in the Friars selecting him in that spot in the first place. Each of Baseball America, Keith Law of the Athletic and Eric Longenhagen of FanGraphs slotted Merrill between 72nd and 101st in their pre-draft rankings. It’s safe to presume Padres’ evaluators are higher on Merrill than those public prognosticators, but the Friars were no doubt aware he’d be willing to take an underslot deal in the first round to forego his commitment to the University of Kentucky.
Evaluators write that Merrill came on strong towards the end of his high school season. The Maryland native has a prototype infielder’s build with some power projection and bat speed. BA and Law express some trepidation about the consistency of his hit tool, though, and all three outlets agree he’s likely to outgrow shortstop down the line.
Merrill’s underslot agreement saves a little less than $800K for the Padres to reallocate to some of their later selections. Second-rounder James Wood is the only other prep player among San Diego’s top ten picks, so it’s likely he’ll wound up with a bonus significantly above the $1.1MM slot value associated with the 62nd pick.
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